If you have been injured at work, you might be entitled to workers compensation benefits that should include medical expenses, weekly wage benefits, and more, depending on certain factors. However, not all insurance carriers believe in being fair when it comes to paying out claims. This is why you need to hire the services of an experienced workers compensation lawyer at Ted A. Greve and Associates to get the benefits you deserve. Call our Evans personal injury attorneys at (706) 222-1677 to discuss your case for free today.
207 people lost their lives in 2019 in Georgia due to workplace accident injuries. In the same year, more than 78,000 workplace injuries and illnesses were reported among private industry employers in Georgia. While the incidence rate of TRC [Total Recordable Cases] in Georgia at 2.5 is lower than the national average of 2.8, it is still significant.
A further breakdown of the statistics shows that the Education and Health Services had an incidence rate of 3.5 whereas the construction sector reported an incidence rate of 2.4. This difference is significant as the construction sector is widely considered to be a much more dangerous industry to work in. All these things point to the fact that anybody can get injured at work regardless of the industry they work in.
Georgia workers compensation laws require almost all employers to have workers compensation insurance for their employees. A business with 3 or more employees, even if part-time, is required to carry workers compensation insurance.
Worker’s Compensation System in Georgia
As discussed above, all the employers in Georgia are required to purchase workers compensation insurance to protect their employees. These employees can be part-time workers, full-time workers, or seasonal workers. The system was created to provide medical benefits, wage replacement benefits, vocational training benefits, and rehabilitation benefits to workers who are injured on the job. The dependents of the workers who are killed on the job are also eligible for death benefits.
The Georgia State Board of Worker’s Compensation, est. in 1920, is the agency responsible for workers compensation statutes.
It is a no-fault system which means employees are eligible for benefits without regard to negligence or fault. It also protects employers as workers lose their right to sue their employer due to a work-related injury. Employers in Georgia are free to obtain workers compensation coverage through programs of self-insurance or private insurance.
What Steps to Take If I Am Injured on the Job?
Worker’s Compensation benefits claims are not approved automatically. Certain rules need to be followed in order to ensure a successful outcome and you also need to keep in mind that insurance companies are going to do everything in their power to avoid paying out the claim. Here is what you should do if you are injured on the job:
- Report your injury: You need to report your injury to your supervisor, in writing. Also, this report should be made within 30 days of the date of the accident. If you wait for too long, it might adversely affect your claim.
- Get medical attention: You need to go to a doctor as quickly as possible after suffering an injury on the job. It is important that you seek treatment from a doctor who is on the approved panel of physicians. The list of the approved panel should be available at work. Ask your supervisor or HR to provide the list. If you go to a doctor other than those on the approved panel, the insurance carrier might not cover your costs. However, you might visit a doctor of your choice in case of an emergency.
- Record everything: Keep a record of your injuries and treatment. It will be of great help in case your claim is denied and you need to provide proof. These records should also include photographs of injuries at regular intervals.
- File workers compensation claim with the help of an experienced workers compensation lawyer: The law does not state that you need an attorney to file a workers compensation claim. However, we routinely come across cases where genuine claims are rejected by insurance carriers for frivolous reasons. You also need to know that the claim needs to be filed within a certain deadline. An experienced attorney can help you avoid the pitfalls that usually lead to denials.
List of the Most Common Workplace Accident Injuries
While all kinds of injuries can happen at the workplace, some injuries are much more common as compared to others. Here’s a list of some of the most common workplace accident injuries:
- Slip and fall injuries
- Back/neck injuries
- Injuries caused by falling objects
- Injuries due to overexertion
- Injuries due to machine entanglement
- Injuries due to falling from heights
- Repetitive stress injuries caused by repetitive motions
- Injuries caused by handling objects
- Vehicle crashes
Advantages of Hiring an Evans Workers Compensation Lawyer
As explained above, your don’t need the services of a workers compensation lawyer for filing a workers compensation claim. However, there are certain advantages of working with an experienced Evans Worker’s Compensation lawyer.
It would be a mistake for you to assume that your workers compensation benefits claim will go through without any issues. Insurance companies will use every trick in the book to either deny your claim completely or pay only a part of the sum you’re entitled to. They might try to get you to sign a settlement that is far less as compared to what you could get through an experienced attorney.
Don’t forget that insurance companies exist to make money. They are not in the business of helping people like you. This is also the reason, a significant number of claims are denied. You have the right to file an appeal before the State Board but you might have to wait for more than a year for your hearing.
An experienced workers compensation attorney will help you ensure that all your paperwork is complete and there are no errors in your claim. Also, they will reevaluate your case if it is denied and represent you before the Administrative Law Judge to ensure that all the necessary facts and proof are presented in an effective manner to enhance your chances of success.
Is It Expensive to Hire an Evans Workers Compensation Lawyer?
Contrary to the common misconception about attorneys being expensive, you do not need to worry about the legal costs. Here at Ted A. Greve and Associates, we work on a contingency fee arrangement. Our clients do not have to pay anything out of their own pocket. We recover our costs from the settlement or weekly benefits, we recover for you. If we do not recover weekly benefits or a settlement for you, we don’t get paid. Also, the State Board has fixed the maximum attorney fees at 25% of a settlement or weekly benefits. All the attorney fees above $100 need to be approved by the State Board.
My Workers Compensation Claim Is Denied – What Do I Do?
First and foremost, you should know that you are not alone. You are one of the many who are confused and do not know what to do.
You may file an appeal before an Administrative Law Judge. The Administrative Law Judge will hear the arguments presented by both the parties in order to resolve the issues. If either party is not satisfied with the decision of the Administrative Law Judge, they have the right to request a review by the Appellate Division and matters may also be taken further through the court system. In short, you can always appeal the decision if you feel that your benefits claim has been unfairly denied.
Does an Employee Have Any Responsibilities in Filing a Workers Compensation Claim?
The workers compensation system in Georgia provides protection to all the employees in case of a work-related injury but the employees also have certain responsibilities to qualify for these benefits. Here is a brief list of some of the employee’s responsibilities:
- Report the accident within 30 days to the employer
- Show that willful misconduct was not the cause of the accident
- Inform the employer or insurance carrier upon change of address
- File claim within one year
- Tell the truth when claiming benefits
- Follow the rules of safety at workplace
What Are The Employer’s Responsibilities In The Workers Compensation Process?
Employers also need to fulfill their responsibilities in the workers compensation process. Here is a list of some of the responsibilities of the employer:
- Provide prompt medical attention
- Provide information on the insurance carrier
- Provide information on the panel of physicians
- Submit completed WC – 1 form to the insurance carrier as soon as possible once they are made aware of the employee’s injury.
Is Your Employer Allowed to Fire You for Filing a Workers Compensation Claim?
Your employer cannot retaliate against you, in any form, for filing a workers compensation claim.
Is There a Time Limit to Filing a Workers Compensation Claim in Evans, Georgia?
The claim needs to be filed within a year of the date of the accident. There are some exceptions to this rule but more often than not, a claim is likely to be denied in case it isn’t filed within one year of the date of the accident.
Can I Sue My Employer for Work-Related Injury?
Workers compensation laws provide certain benefits but employees also give up their right to sue the employer due to a work-related injury. Keep in mind that workers compensation is a no-fault system which means the injured employee is entitled to benefits without regards to who was at fault.
Independent Contractors and Workers Compensation Claim in Georgia
Independent contractors are not allowed to file a Worker’s Compensation claim in the state of Georgia. Having said that, there is specific criteria for establishing whether they are an independent contractor or an employee.
What’s the Value of My Evans Workers Compensation Claim?
All cases are different which means benefits are also going to be different in all cases. Georgia workers compensation law provides coverage for following:
- Complete medical expenses: The insurance company has to cover all the medical expenses related to workplace injury including cost of prosthetics, prescription medication, occupational therapy, emergency room care, and other related expenses. They will also cover necessary travel expenses related to treatment of the injury.
- Rehabilitation benefits: Vocational rehabilitation benefits are also to be covered in case of a catastrophic injury.
- Wage replacement benefits: If an employee misses work for more than 7 days due to a workplace accident injury, they are entitled to wage replacement benefits as follows:
- Permanent partial disability: If an employee becomes partially disabled due to workplace related injury, they are entitled to these benefits. The upper limit for these benefits is $675 per week. The actual amount is decided on the basis of impairment rating provided by an authorized doctor. This impairment rating is multiplied by the number of weeks assigned to the disabled organ as per the American Medical Association guidelines.
- Temporary partial disability: These benefits are paid at the rate of two thirds of the average weekly wage though there is an upper cap of $450 per week. These benefits come into play in case the employee is able to work at a reduced earning capacity. 350 weeks is the maximum for which these benefits can be paid.
- Temporary total disability: These benefits are calculated at two thirds of the average weekly wage. The upper limit in such cases is $675 and these are paid in case the employee is unable to return to work. 400 weeks is the maximum for which these benefits can be paid.
An Evans Workers Compensation Lawyer at Ted A. Greve & Associates is Here to Help
Workers compensation laws in the state of Georgia are complex. Insurance companies often try to take advantage of this complexity in order to deny claims for various reasons. They might claim that you’re able to get back to work sooner or you were not injured at work or the injury isn’t as bad as you are claiming it to be. In short, they want to save as much money as possible.
You should remember that insurance companies are not only expected to cover all the medical costs related to your injury but also provide wage replacement benefits. It is natural that insurance companies will do everything in their power to not pay these benefits and this is why, they try to pressure workers to get back to work before they are ready. An experienced workers compensation lawyer will fight for your rights in such situations.
Here at Ted A. Greve and Associates, we have extensive experience in representing clients whose workers compensation benefits claims have been unfairly denied. We have also helped many clients who were offered an appallingly low settlement amount by the insurance company before we came into picture. We will negotiate, on your behalf, with insurance carriers to get a fair settlement.
If a fair settlement offer isn’t given by the insurance company, we are also prepared to take the case to trial. You don’t need to worry about legal costs as we work on a contingency fee arrangement. Our legal cost will be recovered from the settlement or weekly benefits we are able to recover for you.
Call us today at (706) 222-1677 to discuss the details of your case for free.